Saturday, June 18, 2022

Another Result of Putin’s War in Ukraine: a Depressing Re-Standardization of Architecture in Russian Cities

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 31 – In Soviet times, new buildings across the country looked much the same because they were all built according to blueprints drawn up in Moscow. Thus one could find buildings in Vladivostok which looked like buildings in Voronezh which looked like buildings in Rostov.

            Local architects and builders often tried to introduce distinctive local elements, but they were limited by Moscow’s desire to standardize things. Then after 1991, architects in various cities gained the chance to design buildings with local characteristics, something they were helped to do by the collapse of central planning and the influx of foreign architects.

            Now, as a result of Putin’s war in Ukraine, not only are fewer buildings going up and architects fleeing the country, but there is a growing re-standardization of buildings once and what construction there is shows less and less variety (

            There are still holdouts and so the danger of Soviet grayness in architecture is not as bleak as some are complaining. But it is real, and there is a real threat that one of the long-term consequences of Putin’s war in Ukraine will be not only the homogenization of thought but the homogenization of construction as well.

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